© Melrakki Cotons - All Right Reserved 2010 - Last updated 17th December 2013.
Our motto: ást ok ánægja - Love and Pleasure
Members of Kennel Club Assured Breeders Scheme
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a condition that affects the airways – the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. When a person with asthma comes into contact with something that irritates their airways (an asthma trigger), the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten so that the airways become narrower and the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and starts to swell causing the airways to become narrower and irritated - making it difficult to breath and leading to symptoms of asthma.
How do dogs and other animals trigger asthma symptoms?
A trigger is anything that irritates the airways and causes the symptoms of asthma to appear. Common triggers include colds or flu, cigarette smoke, exercise and allergies to things like pollen, house-dust mites or furry or feathered animals. Everyone’s asthma is different and people with asthma may have several triggers. Most people relate asthma triggered by dogs as to how much hair a dog sheds. It is not the amount of hair being shed that causes allergy problems but it is the amount of dander shed which is the main culprit. Dander doesn't just come from fur, but it is also found in skin, urine and saliva. You could consider dander to be “pet pollen”.
What is the right breed of dog for you?
Rather than asking which dog breed is hypoallergenic, you should rather ask “which dog breed is hypoallergenic for you?” The fact is, every individual is different and each person has a unique allergic threshold which makes it impossible to generalize about hypoallergenic dog breeds for the general population.
Information can be found on several web sites as to what are classed as "hypoallergenic dogs" or "non-allergic breeds" and it is very important that you do your homework on these breeds carefully. When you have narrowed it down to one or two that are of interest, you should either visit those breeders for a sensitivity test or, better still, get them to bring a dog to you as you will be more likely to know the triggers that affect you in your own home and will be in a better position to gauge if the dog is causing you a problem. Any reputable breeder should have no problem with this especially if you explain the situation to them. If they are not willing to bring a dog to you then find one that will as, in all probability, they will the more reputable breeder out of the two anyway.
When they bring their dog to your home spend at least 45 mins to 1 hour with the dog. This not only allows time for the animal to get use to you and, therefore, react to you more naturallly but it will also allow a fair test. Keeping your medication close at hand, just in case, but take time to play with the dog and really get your hands in to the fur to disturb any dander that it may have. Colin found this time very important when choosing the Coton breed. He spent almost 2.5 hrs with George giving him a good old fuss which included burying his face in to George's fur whilst taking deep breaths to ensure that any dander particles entered his airways just to see if this would trigger any attack. Luckily (for us), nothing did happen which proved that the Coton is the right breed for him. It might also be worthwhile asking if the breeder has more then one type of animal living in their house as they may, unwittingly, bring dander on their clothes from the another animal(s) which you might also be sensitive too.
It is also very important that you try to stay away from other triggers for several hours after the visit to eliminate the possibility of a delayed reaction. If you have no reaction then you know that the breed is right for you.
By now you have gathered that there is no canine that is truly a hypoallergenic dog. It is which breed is best for you that counts.